Shuck and Jive

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thanks For Your Honesty Bob

It is conversations with Bob! My turn!


Thank you for your honesty and sincerity in your last post. We come to different conclusions and practices in our ministry. I of course welcome glbt folks as full members as does our church. We are glad that they serve in all capacities as well as anyone else. I don't see their relationship as sinful. It is not that I am in favor of sin, it is that we disagree on its definition and what qualifies as sin, I suppose. I do regard the Huck Finn analogy as more apropos than Gagnon's.

I really didn't know where you were precisely on that position, and maybe you didn't know where I was either. I thought it was a given that gay couples were welcomed as members in the PCUSA churches. I was being somewhat tongue in cheek when I wrote in 2001 about it. I thought most ministers who opposed ordination of gays still were in favor of membership for them. I can see that Moderator Joan Gray was correct in her evaluation that some churches do not accept gay couples as members (unless they stop being a gay couple). You might feel she is incorrect in calling non-acceptance heresy.

I can't say that I am not disheartened by your position. I was hoping we would be closer on that. Nevertheless, I do respect that you come to your position with a sincere heart and a desire to do the right thing. I hope you trust that I do as well. One of us (at least), I suspect is wrong, but we may not know that for a long time, if ever in our lifetimes.

My conversation with you makes me realize that I have to work even harder to do what I can to remove these policies in the PCUSA that put up barriers for service (and now, it seems, membership) to sexual and gender minorities. The threat to me is that these policies thwart my freedom to do ministry, and it appears that these policies will become more and more rigid. Perhaps you feel a threat from my side.
I really like you, but I know the rhetoric is going to get rougher and the fight tougher in our denomination. Since we are both outspoken, when we read what each other writes or when we meet at some governing body or whatever, we will be on opposite sides. I will say up front, don't take it personally, but I will have to fight for what I believe is right and you will need to do the same.

You said earlier that maybe we should move on from the sexuality issue. I now agree. I will give you the last word on that before we move on to another topic or take a rest, whatever you wish!

Grace and Peace my Friend,


  1. TS Eiot, in his Little Giddings, 4 Quartets wrote;

    'What we call the beginning is often the end, and to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from…. We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the very first time.'

    It seems this conversation has returned, and the naivete and innocence of not knowing is no longer there. Two places, very different places, mutually exclusive places have been described, by two competent spokesmen, with good humor and goodwill. But two different places, nonetheless. The spokesmen seem intractable in their positions. So, what now?

    Its a real question.

  2. John & Bob,

    You guys are so nice! And I do mean that as a compliment to both of you. I find far too much lack of respect in the national conversation and the church conversation.

    I loved the way you treated me and the rest of us when you were in my Presbytery and I love seeing the same approach here in cyberspace.

    love, john + & + “If a dog jumps into your lap, it is because he is fond of you; but if a cat does the same thing, it is because your lap is warmer.” -- Alfred North Whitehead